An ever increasing influx of 'must reads' threaten to inundate me. But I swim steadily along, preferring to imbibe them slowly with pauses to catch my breath and savor the flavor. All these good words need an outlet lest I drown, thus my comments and quotes from a few good books (and a few that aren't so good!)...
Thursday, February 23, 2017
What is the What--Eggers
What is the What by Dave Eggers Vintage Canada, 2006, 535pp.
*** Incredible read. It's been a long time since I read a book so quickly! --LS
The Dinka of southern Sudan are secure in their
confidence that they have been blessed by God in choosing to accept His gift of
cattle and fertile land and in leaving the unknown 'what' for their Arab neighbors. That is,
until the upheaval of civil war commences in which their way of life and their
very lives are at stake...
This is the masterful
re-telling of the story of 'the Lost Boys', those hundreds and thousands of
young boys orphaned and/or displaced by the Second Sudanese war (1983-2005), as
told through the eyes of one, Valentino Achak Deng.
Have they unwittingly
been actually cursed by God in eschewing the unknown 'What'?
What is the What anyway? Is it the superior force of the central
Sudanese government in Khartoum? Is it the AK-47? Is it the
opportunity to emigrate to the United States?
Dave Eggers weaves a
fascinating, suspenseful, tender story shot with rays of humor as he unfolds
the destiny of the Lost Boys as they escape death en route to the refugee camps
where they will grow up into men with the chance to choose their own unknown,
to keep on walking in search of grace and a future. This is an absolutely compelling story that
informs and appalls as it unfolds leaving the reader with an insider's grasp of the
conflicts in southern Sudan prior to their independence as a nation.
"We're men. Now we can stand and decide. This is our first chance to choose our own
unknown. I'm so proud of everything
we've done, my brothers, and if we're fortunate enough to fly and land again in
a new place, we must continue. As
impossible as it sounds, we must keep walking.
And yes, there has been suffering, but now there will be grace. There has been pain but now there will be
serenity. No one has been tried as we
have been tried, and now this is our reward, whether it be heaven or something
less than that." (p.531-2)